County Executive Budget Forum
County Executive Leggett held his final budget forum at the Black Rock Theatre in Germantown on January 29, during which he requested public comment on items that should be included in the county’s FY2019 Operating Budget. The total county budget exceeds $5B, with almost half going to Montgomery County Public Schools.
Residents from the upcounty were given an opportunity to comment on budget desires, including funding for schools, road maintenance, health programs, teen programs and more police and fire services. Leggett indicated that he hoped to be able to keep current funding levels for priority programs. He shared a series of slides detailing revenue forecasts and the expenditure levels for department/area spending. The slides can be viewed on the Montgomery County website.
Leggett also noted the FY2019-24 Capital Budget, which outlines major building programs for the schools, transportation, county government, housing and libraries over the next five years. Important capital budget items for Montgomery Village include the 6th District Police Station, with construction to commence in fall 2022 and to be ready for occupancy in 2024; and the widening of Goshen Road, which is scheduled for construction in 2023. Both budgets will be transmitted to the county council and will be adopted after extensive processing in June.
New Street Lights
Approximately 100 new street lights are to be installed by Montgomery County DOT this spring along Montgomery Village Avenue, from Centerway Road to Wightman Road, to meet county pedestrian/public safety lighting standards. The street lights will be mounted on aluminum poles with cobra style heads and will be very similar in style to existing street lights in the area. Funding was included several years ago in the county’s Capital Budget to complete this project. The project was noted as a priority because of high pedestrian usage and number of bus stops. The street lights will be installed approximately 120 to 130 feet apart and will be LEDs versus high pressure sodium. Existing street lights on this stretch of roadway will be upgraded to LEDs as well.
It has been reported that Lakeforest Mall (30 acres) is in the process of being sold to Annapolis-based Petrie Richardson Ventures, which has renovated the old City Place Mall in Silver Spring. Currently, US Bank owns Lakeforest Mall. It was purchased in foreclosure at auction for $19.1M after the former owner stopped paying the loan it had with US Bank. Five Mile purchased the mall in 2012 for $102.5 M and was working with the City of Gaithersburg on redevelopment plans, but they never came to fruition. The current zoning on the property allows for mixed use development.